Friday, March 17, 2006


For the past several years many liberals have suffered from a serious case of BDS: Bush Derangement Syndrome, which is manifested in irrational and hateful outburts, along with frequent doses of conspiracy theories thrown in for good measure.

But not it appears that the conservatives have self-diagnosed another disease, which may also be labeled BDS: Bush Disillusionment Syndrome.

The official prognosis is offered by Peggy Noonan--former speechwriter for President Reagan, wonderful wordsmith, and volunteer aid to the Bush campain--in her article in today's Wall Street Journal, "Hey, Big Spender."

She succintly sums up the conservative worldview with regard to the size of government: "Money is power, more money for the government is more power for the government. More power for the government will allow it to, among many other things, amuse itself by putting its fingers in a million pies, and stop performing its essential functions well, and get dizzily distracted by nonessentials, and muck up everything. Which is more or less where we are."

About President Bush in particular, she writes: "If I'd thought he was a big-spending Rockefeller Republican--that is, if I'd thought he was a man who could not imagine and had never absorbed the damage big spending does--I wouldn't have voted for him."

So in light of that, Peggy Noonan has some questions for the President:

Mr. President:

Did you ever hold conservative notions and assumptions on the issue of spending? If so, did you abandon them after the trauma of 9/11? For what reasons, exactly? Did you intend to revert to conservative thinking on spending at some point? Do you still?

Were you always a liberal on spending? Were you, or are you, frankly baffled that conservatives assumed you were a conservative on spending? Did you feel they misunderstood you? Did you allow or encourage them to misunderstand you?

What are the implications for our country if spending levels continue to grow at their current pace?

What are the implications for the Republican party if it continues to cede one of the pillars on which it stood?

Did compassionate conservatism always mean big spending?